08.05.09

Leahy Announces More Armored Vehicles For Bennington Firm

. . . Added Work Means More Jobs and Safer Troops

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday announced that the Pentagon has increased the order for troop vehicles built in part by Bennington-based Plasan North America, creating additional jobs in the area.
 
He said the Defense Department has approved a second contract for Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corporation and Plasan North America to build an additional 1,700 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain-Vehicles (M-ATV) for $1.06 billion.  At the beginning of July, Leahy announced a $1.05 billion Department of Defense contract to produce 2,244 M-ATVs.  The first contract created an estimated 100 jobs and this second contract will solidify those positions for a longer term and create up to 50 additional jobs beyond the 100 created last month.
 
The M-ATV is a smaller version of the life-saving Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle that has already been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Leahy said the new M-ATV is being designed specifically to negotiate the difficult terrain and dirt roads of Afghanistan without compromising the protective nature of the design of the vehicle and the armor supplied by Plasan.  The Defense Department could contract additional vehicles with Oshkosh and Plasan, eventually reaching $3 billion for more than 5,000 vehicles.
 
Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its Defense Subcommittee, which handles the Senate’s work in writing the Pentagon’s budget.  Earlier this year Leahy worked to secure a provision in the supplemental appropriations bill for Afghanistan and Iraq, which was signed into law in mid-June, to accelerate the development and deployment of the M-ATV with a total of $3.4 billion for the program.
 
Leahy visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in late May and saw first-hand the need for these vehicles in rugged Afghanistan.  Leahy said, “This contract helps ensure that more of our soldiers in Afghanistan will have the protection of these state-of-the-art vehicles.  This contract also provides more jobs and more job stability to the Vermonters who are building the vehicles in Bennington.”
 
As part of the first contract, Plasan and Oshkosh delivered 46 M-ATV vehicles in July, which was one more than required by the end of the first month of the contract.

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